Sunday, August 2, 2009

International Ballet Gala

July 30, 2009

Hamer Hall, Melbourne

In the parade of gorgeous tutus and double fouettes, majestic leaps and brilliant pirouettes, it was the men who outshone their partners in this showcase of international ballet talent.

Young Australian star of The Royal Ballet, Steven McRae, demonstrated why his career has been so meteoric in his performance of the Don Quixote pas de deux with fellow Royal Ballet dancer Roberta Marquez. His legs were whip-crack sharp beneath his rock solid torso, while Marquez was the perfect foil, all smiles and easy grace.

Joseph Phillips from American Ballet Theatre also made a huge impression in the Diana and Acteon pas de deux with his bouyant leaps and assuredly smooth turns, while his partner Venus Villa had a delightful presence, light on her feet and technically brilliant.

Yet magnificent as both McRae and Phillips were, they were trumped by another rising star, Ukrainian-born Sergei Polunin, who danced Le Corsaire as though it was made for him. At just nineteen years of age, Polunin’s dancing is full of passion, his spitfire technique absolutely marvellous. He was partnered by Mara Galeazzi, also of The Royal Ballet, whose abilities were absolutely overshadowed by the intensity of his talent.

Beatrice Knop and Dmitry Semionov of the Staatsballett Berlin displayed their prowess in an interesting modern duet from Caravaggio, a contemporary ballet by Italian choreographer Mauro Bigonzetti.

Mathilde Froustey from the Paris Opera Ballet and Australian Adam Thurlow made a charming pair in Paquita, and the obligatory Black Swan pas de deux was competently danced by Russians Natalia and Yuri Vyskubenko, though it was somewhat lacking in characterisation.

The program was supported by students of The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet, who, despite being very well rehearsed, couldn’t help looking dowdy in comparison with the glamorous international superstars.

First published in The Age newspaper


  1. Hello, loved this review - thank you so much for writing it. The Royal Ballet feature on myown blog -so it's great to be able to keep in touch with them around the world via writers like yourself. Thank you !

  2. Thanks for your comment Elise. We don't often get to see dancers from the Royal Ballet perform live in Melbourne, so it was wonderful to have them here.

  3. The party scene would have to be one of the most dazzlingly and effortlessly sexy scenes in classical ballet.

    Online fitness courss in UK | Ballet Business Course with Balletbefit